Britain’s two fastest half marathon runners of all time, Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins, will face each other at The Big Half, a new half marathon event in London on Sunday 4 March.
Farah – the multiple world and Olympic champion over 5000m and 10,000m – will begin the new road-racing chapter of his career at The Big Half as he prepares for the Virgin Money London Marathon in April.
Hawkins, who was fourth in the marathon at this year’s IAAF World Championships in London, will be looking for further success on the streets of the capital.
“I am thrilled to be part of The Big Half,” said 34-year-old Farah, who retired from racing on the track after winning the IAAF Diamond League 5000m title in Zurich. “It will be an ideal preparation race for me for the London Marathon six weeks later. Everyone knows I love running on the streets of London and I look forward to this new event.
“It’s fantastic for British Athletics that we now have a new generation of runners like Callum coming through who are able to compete at the top end of world-class races. I hope my achievements over the years have shown them what is possible.”
Farah and Hawkins last faced each other at the Great Edinburgh X-Country in January, when Hawkins finished 45 seconds ahead of Farah.
“I am really looking forward to The Big Half now I know I will get the chance to race Mo again,” said Hawkins, 25. “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love testing myself against the very best athletes in the world and they don’t come any better than Mo.
“Racing in London is always so special. The crowds are amazing and it has brought the best out of me in the past. I qualified for the Rio Olympics at the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon which was really my breakthrough race and then finished fourth in the marathon at the 2017 London World Championships, so I’m always confident when racing in the capital and I’m hoping I can enjoy more success in March.”
Farah’s European record of 59:32 was set in March 2015 while Hawkins ran a PB of 60:00 in Marugame this February, taking him to second on the UK all-time list and fourth on the European all-time list.
“It is great for British distance running that we now have an athlete of the calibre of Callum Hawkins who can provide a very real domestic competition for Sir Mo,” said event director Hugh Brasher. “I can’t wait for the race on Sunday 4 March.”
The Big Half starts by Tower Bridge and finishes in front of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Further international athletes will be announced in the coming months.